Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Philadelphia is the first U.S. city to ban cashless stores

An Amazon Go store which does not accept cash Philadelphia bans cashless stores; will New York City do it next?
Priscilla Morrison | 11 March, 2019, 12:17

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has signed a bill making his city the first in the nation to require local restaurants and other businesses to accept cash if a customer chooses that form of payment, starting July 1. The legislation, which Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law on February 28, aims to protect low-income citizens who might not have access to a bank account.

Cash usage is on the wane in many areas as Americans increasingly use cards and mobile payment options such as Apple Pay at the point-of-sale.

Philadelphia is the first major US city to ban cashless stores, placing it at the forefront of a debate that pits retail innovation against lawmakers trying to protect all citizens' access to the marketplace.

There are exemptions to the statue, with parking lots, garages, and businesses who sell goods through a membership model - such as gyms - able to continue operations as normal.

MA has already banned stores from rejecting cash as payment.

Philadelphia councilman Bill Greenlee, who co-sponsored the bill, believes the new law will help re-level the playing field.

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In New York and San Francisco, initiatives are working their way through legislative channels, but no city council votes are scheduled for now. Emails obtained by the Inquirer showed that the web giant also lobbied city officials to try to carve itself out of the cash requirement.

Although the debate is still ongoing with the terms on the new law, one major company found this as an unfair process since their business were all out cashless and queue-less.

Coffee shop Bluestone Lane and popular salad chain Sweetgreen are among the stores now operating in the city that will need to adjust their cashless policies if they want to continue doing business in Philadelphia.

The Bezos-owned company plans to open up 3,000 cashless stores across the country by 2021.

It's unclear if Amazon Go could expand to Philadelphia.

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